"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Friday, March 29, 2013

DESE States Common Core Effective without Empirical Evidence

Missouri DESE released this statement:

Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro says the new Common Core State Standards are relevant to the real world that would focus on the knowledge and skills in areas such as Mathematics and English Language Arts, that students will need in order to succeed in life after high school.

There is no research/data with this statement and it is interesting DESE (and other state educational agencies) have dropped the claim that these standards are "internationally benchmarked".  When pressed to support these claims, DESE took that phrase off their talking point sheets.

Here is a peer reviewed and research based study from Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice ,The “Common Core” Standards Initiative: An Effective Reform Tool?, July 2010, which raised questions on the effectiveness and adoption process of common core standards.  Some of the findings of this extensive brief:

Contentions about global competitiveness provide a key rationale given for common standards, along with increasing equity and streamlining the reform process.  The analysis presented here suggests that the data do not support these contentions. U.S. states with high academic standards fare no better (or worse) than those identified as having low academic standards. Research support for standards–driven, test-based accountability systems is similarly weak. And nations with centralized standards generally tend to perform no better (or worse) on international tests than those without. 
The NGA/CCSSO standards-development process was completed quickly—in approximately one year—by Achieve, Inc., a private contractor. This brief raises several concerns about the development, content, and use of those 500 pages of standards and supporting documents. For instance, the level of input from school-based practitioners appears to be minimal, the standards themselves have not been field tested, and it is unclear whether the tests used to measure the academic outcomes of common standards will have sufficient validity to justify the high-stakes consequences that will likely arise around their use. Accordingly, it seems improbable that the common core standards will have the positive effects on educational quality or equality being sought by proponents, particularly in light of the lack of essential capacity at the local, state and federal levels. 

...the Economic Policy Institute’s Richard Rothstein highlights a paradox in the administration’s proposed policy: an increasingly technology-dependent world actually requires fewer skills for almost all people. Beyond entry-level training and on-the-job training, 70% of United States jobs do not require more than a high school education, 20% require a college education, and only 10% require technical training.
...the call for college- and career-ready standards as necessary for the 21st century global economy does not meet two somewhat different criteria. First, it does not reflect the actual workforce needs of the nation and, second, it is a vague and all-encompassing term that while appearing to be definitive, is
anything but that.
Read this researched based study and then reread the DESE statement again.  You can decide for yourself if you believe common core standards are based on transparent legal process, field testing, international benchmarking, true input from classroom teachers and if Common Core writers actually know what a 21st century skill looks like.

If you believe what the Great Lakes Center wrote in 2010 about Common Core standards and its empirical evidence, you have misgivings on many levels on the adoption/implementation of Common Core standards.

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